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Show #7

Review of Different Size, Shape, Material and Colors Available in Pots

Container gardening has become more popular for many different reasons. Space may be a problem, your yard may be too hilly,conserving water, all are reasons to consider container gardening. Containers can be placed on a deck, by a door, anywhere you want to draw interest or add color. Containers come in a variety of shapes, colors, textures and designs. We'll show some of those on the show.

We visit a facility that makes and sells beautiful pots. The continental pots come in three colors. Moss Terra Cotta which is red with moss color accents, Stone, a stone color and Moss colored which is green. There are also a wide variety of custom colors available. These pots can be used indoors or outdoors. If used indoors use a clay or clear saucer for drainage, the saucer isn't necessary if used outdoors. These pots range in size from 8 inches up to 36 inches. Some are round, some are square, there are a variety of sizes. These pots are decorated on the side with angels, lions, garlands, grape vines, rabbits, some have feet connected to the bottom for easy drainage and an unusual, formal look.

We also look at concrete items. Most of the pots and planters are also made in concrete. There are rabbits, architectural items, urns, etc. The concrete items are a white, grayish color. You can change their color by priming, painting then sealing them with an outdoor sealer.

We select two pots for the front door of the Georgia Lake House

After looking at the huge selection of pots we select two that go well with the entrance of the Georgia lake house we're landscaping on the show this year. We select two less formal, shorter pots that will frame the front door. Since the pots are a little shorter we'll use taller plants in the pots. We've selected a tall grass, Red Fountain Grass, Pennisetum Rubrum, for the middle of the pot. It holds the red color all summer long, will get larger and will grow blooms. The red, purple cast will last up until frost. As a contrast we've chosen a white Marigold, Sweet Cream, these go around the base of the grass and add even more color. We now have upward movement with the fountain grass, we now need a flow so we'll add Wave Petunias around the edges. These will be extremely colorful, bloom all summer, grow very quickly and droop over the side of the pot. And all of these plants are heat tolerant.

Tips for Planting Pots

We offer several tips for planting the container. First to improve drainage add packing material or peanuts (styrofoam) to the bottom. This not only helps drainage it is lighter weight than soil, thus making the pot easier to move if needed. Most of the roots of the plants we'll use won't take more than half the pot anyway, this would be unused soil. We first plant the tall grass in the middle, it will be the focal point of the container. Use several plants to form a clump and make a bold statement. Next add the Marigolds, you can use a pattern but it usually looks better to have a random placement. We plant them a little closer than the instructions suggest to give the illusion of fullness. Leave space at the edge of the container for the Petunias. Since they grow rapidly we don't need that many of them. Don't worry where you put them they'll grow and fill the space quickly. Look at the whole design, if you need to move something it is easy to do so at this point. Use a time release fertilizer, it should last 3 or 4 months. Then water and allow the soil to compact and close out air pockets. If more soil is then needed, add it and you have a beautiful container that accents the house and front door.

Container gardens come in a variety of shapes and sizes, we show one with a large tree, a Columnar Crabapple. It produces fruit, has beautiful blooms and around the bottom anything can be planted. In this container we've planted Johnny Jump ups, Violas and Tulips. These will be replaced in the summer with Petunias, Marigolds and numerous other flowering plants. Another container holds two different colored Crepe Myrtle's. When they bloom they'll bloom two different colors, pink and red. Dinosaur Kayle is planted in this container now but will soon be replaced with summer flowering annuals.

We look a several smaller containers. If you have a shady, low light situation, use Caladiums, they have very large, very colorful leaves and stand out in most situations. We show a container containing all Cactus and Succulents. The blooms will last from summer through winter. This would work well in a sunroom. We show a multi-use tropical container that has Setcretia, Purple Heart and Hawaiian Snow Bush, Breynia which gets about 3-4 feet tall. It has very colorful foliage (whites, reds, dark greens and purples) but doesn't bloom. There are all kind of plants you can put in containers, it depends on the situation and environment.

How a Pot is Made

How is a pot made? The family history goes back to the 1700's, they cam to this country from England and settled in North Carolina. The family moved to Georgia because there were several veins of clay in the area. At that time it was hauled on horse and wagon so it needed to be close. A vein of clay is usually 2-6 feet under the topsoil, if it is deeper than that it is too expensive to mine. A vein that can be used for pottery is usually no more than 2-6 feet deep and is very rare and hard to find. A big expense in making pottery is finding, mining and processing the clay. The mined clay is yellow-bluish, once fired it turns a red, buff color. The red clay you see on the roadside just doesn't work, it is too sandy and won't bond. The potter takes a piece of clay, puts it on the wheel and makes whatever piece of pottery is needed that day. Potters are very skilled, it takes 1-2 years for the individual to be able to make uniform pieces that look alike. They make between 100-400 pieces of pottery a day according to size and shape. Once the pot is made it must sit for 2-3 hours, then someone cuts the holes (if a strawberry jar), puts on handles, makes faces on jack-o-lanterns in the fall, etc. The pots then sit for 8-10 hours, they're then turned upside down and the bottoms smoothed. They're then moved to a rack and sit there until dry, 5-10 days according to the size of the pot. All the moisture must be out before they go into the kiln. In the kiln they're heated to 1800 degrees F. and held for 2 hours, they then cool. This takes about 12 hours. This kiln moves back and forth between different stacks and is called an envelope kiln. This one is the most modern in the country and is all computerized.

Decorating an Outdoor Room

We also choose some outdoor furniture for the Georgia house. Our plans call for outdoor living areas, this allows us to be in nature and affords us the sight, colors, smell, sound and textures of outdoors. In this case we're addressing sitting areas in the back deck, that overlooks the lake. The owner has chosen a taller dining set called the Bistro set to allow everyone to be above the railing and have a full view of the lake. Also chosen was a Cyprus sitting group that blends well with the outdoors environment. There are many choices in outdoor furniture today, wicker - both traditional and the new wicker look that is made with aluminum and poly vinyl material- cast iron, wrought iron, natural wood, cement, the list is endless and most is attractive. Choices should be made based upon usage, looks, comfort and personal choice.

Once the furniture selection is made, to personalize the sitting area, use hanging baskets, small trees, shrubs, plants, etc. All of these will bring the outdoors in and make everything more attractive.

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GardenSMART Featured Article

By Delilah Onofrey, Suntory Flowers
Photographs courtesy of Suntory Flowers

Now is the time to shop for annuals that will go the distance all summer. Suntory Flowers has a portfolio of gorgeous varieties that thrive in the heat. To learn more, click here for an interesting article.

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